The Piteba Oil Expeller – Making Hand Pressed Pumpkin Seed and Sunflower Oil

Piteba Oil ExpellerI got myself a nice new Piteba oil expeller and this post will show me using to to make hand pressed pumpkin seed and sunflower oil. Here’s the machine. It’s imported from Holland… oddly enough this sort of tool is not easy to get a hold of here in the States. It is, though, quite reasonably priced even to pay for it to come from Holland.

Update 1/26/11 – Click here – the Piteba is now available on Amazon.com! (Opens in a new window)

Basically it consists of several different parts. the first thing you will notice is my handy cottage cheese container. That’s to catch the “press cake” of leftover solids that are pressed dry of oil. The blue thing underneath is actually an oil candle with blue lamp oil. It has a neat little guide on top (which is why you can’t see the flame).

This actually heats up the whole entire unit to help press out the oil, which becomes more readily available when heated up a bit. It doesn’t heat a whole lot, though, which is good because I would imagine too much heat might affect the shelf life of the oil.

Then, to the right you have the collection cup, on top is my funnel for the seed, and then all the way to the right is the crank. Bored yet? OK here we move on to the fun stuff! OK actually one more boring part. This is actually more for the owner of Piteba just so he can see how I have this set up, since I’ll show him this link πŸ™‚

The Piteba oil expeller is actually designed to be permanently bolted onto something. The amount of power that’s required to turn the crank for some seeds (with shells on, etc) would need for it to be VERY secure. Unfortunately, I have nothing at my home that I could do that with, and I don’t have space for a special table just for that purpose.

So I took a piece of 2×6 lumber left over from my parents building their house and bolted it quite securely to the lumber and left space on each side. Then, I got 2 extra strong c-clamps and used them to clamp the wood-mounted press to my countertop. It actually works really well… the clamps are able to be angled so they don’t interfere with the turning of the crank, and the footprint is relatively small. When I am finished and all the pieces are cleaned and oiled, I can put everything in a box and stow it away in a room in my basement. Pretty tidy!

OK anyway, now as promised, on to the fun stuff.

 

 

 

 

Here we are in action! The funnel is filled with shelled raw sunflower seeds. I actually did try this with the black oil sunflower seeds (shell-on) but I realized it was a bad idea. The black oil sunflower seeds I could get were actually intended for birdseed and so they were dirty.

 

 

 

 

Only about 25% more in cost I could get the shelled seeds for human consumption.

 

 

 

 

 

Pound by pound, I get more oil from the shelled seeds so it actually isn’t more expensive this way. You turn the crank, which causes the seeds to press in and at the end, the press cake extrudes and the oil drips out into the catching cup at the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the leftover press cake. It’s pretty dry and crumbly. Since this was made with shelled seeds intended for human consumption, I could have easily made it into granola, baked it into some delicious bread, etc.

Unfortunately, I don’t really have a lot of time for that so it ended up being thrown into the garden. It will either compost nicely or be some protein-rich food for the birds and squirrels. When I have chickens someday this will make excellent chicken feed. Actually, I bet the press cake from flax seeds would be great to feed laying hens for some omega-fatty-acid-enriched farm fresh eggs!

Apparently, even when you have press cake from seeds/nuts with the shells on, you can still feed them to the chickens/hogs/wildlife. At worst, you can compost it. What a great deal, huh!

Here’s a bowl of the sunflower oil. It does contain some sediment and so I’ll let it settle out for about 24 hours before I bottle it up.

 

 

 

Here you can see the oil I’ve been pressing from pumpkin seeds. I bought raw shelled seeds in the bulk section. They don’t quite produce as much oil, as indicated by the high price, but it’s one of my favorite skincare oils and so I definitely wanted to make it.

 

 

 

 

It comes out pretty cloudy… here’s a pic of it after 24 hours of settling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cool, huh! it almost looks like it’s a deep red color… but it’s a trick of the light. In the bottle it looks red, but if you look at it in the pipette I used to decant it into it’s final bottle, you can see it’s definitely a green color with a slight reddish tinge.

 

 

 

 

And of course because we all like pics, here’s a picture of the sunflower seed oil after settling. The sunflower oil didn’t have quite as much sediment to settle, and also since I do plan on using it mostly in cooking I certainly didn’t mind the sunflower “goop.” I did this all yesterday and last night I pan-roasted some fresh asparagus and drizzled it with a few tablespoons of this fresh pressed oil. I could definitely taste the sunflower flavor… it was wonderful. I did put too much salt on the stuff but the flavor itself was tremendous, HEADS above the commercial stuff that’s been sitting on the shelf for 12 months.

 

And here we have the final product! An ounce or so of hand pressed pumpkin seed oil for a facial oil, and about 8 ounces of sunflower oil that I can use for either skincare or cooking. A lot of people actually do use pumpkin seed oil for cooking, but I don’t care for the flavor myself. Although i do like roasted seeds, so maybe if I roasted them first and then pressed them, it might taste pretty good πŸ™‚

Next on my project list for my oil press – flax seed oil, and maybe even pine nut oil. YUM YUM.

Hope you enjoyed my little photo journal. I guess my summary is that hand pressed oils are definitely a lot of physical work (it was about 30 minutes of cranking to produce these oils). After some trial and error I have become more efficient and also as my oil expeller becomes more “seasoned.” It definitely gives one an appreciation for the ease of which we can buy oils at the grocery store, but also an appreciation for the fresh flavors of this fresh pressed oil.

 

This fall I will also have a new experiment – I am growing oilseed sunflowers and naked-seeded pumpkins and so I will be pressing oils from seeds that I grew myself. Something like that gives me the warm fuzzies – a completely sustainable cycle that produces a unique product that most people can’t produce themselves. πŸ™‚

And thusly, I complete my review and photo blog of the Piteba oil expeller. Once again, click here to see the Piteba on Amazon.com (Opens in a new window). Have a great day!


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56 Comments

  1. you know I really wish I had weighed them first but I didn't! At some point I will do an experiment to test the actual seed to oil production ratio, I'll post it on here when I do.

  2. I just found your blog while researching sunflowers and it's wonderful. I bought a whole bag of oilseed to plant this year, thinking that I'd see how it went, but now that I know it exists, I will probably have to get myself one of them there oil presses.

    We're doing a lot of the same "homesteady" things in my neighborhood, so I look forward to learning more from your experience.

    I was also amused that your Grandpa and mine came from the same place: Kearney, NE. Maybe we're related and don't even know it? πŸ˜‰

    Thank you!
    Greg

  3. Greg – that is awesome! I'm glad you are enjoying my blog. I enjoy writing about my endeavors, just wish I had more time and energy for it!

    I definitely would recommend getting one of the Piteba oil presses. It's a great product, well made, and the owner of the company has been VERY helpful to me in learning how to use it.

    Kearney is a pretty small town is it not? I did go there once when I was younger but don't remember it. I bet we are related, though πŸ™‚ I have a lot of relatives in that area, and I think the old family ranch was the biggest in the area.

  4. hi,could you please post the steps from when you have dryed the hesds of your own flowers and remove the seeds what to do from there? how do you de shell?

    1. Hi Anon,

      I haven’t gotten to that point just yet, but the Piteba is capable of pressing the sunflower seeds with the shells on, so once I am able to grow the sunflowers I will look into that process. You might be able to find your answer on google though! I haven’t grown seed sunflowers yet so haven’t gotten around to learning that process.

  5. hi bethany – came onto this post while looking for a PITEBA oil press review.
    you photos and comments are very helpful and we are going ahead with the purchase.
    it is indeed the power of the internet that sitting in a remote village in south india, i plan to buy a dutch product and read a review of a user in america.

    and good luck with the 'off-the-grid' plan.
    we are almost there…

    1. CSM – You are right… if you really stop to think about it, it is quite amazing how well connected we are in the world. I’m glad you’ve decided to get it – there’s a learning curve but there are so many benefits to being able to do this yourself. I just wish piteba made an olive press too πŸ™‚

  6. By the time I got to ordering the presses, I had two other people interested in them, and now the Euro has fallen to one of the lowest points in years, so I'm getting a great discount!

    This weekend, we just finished tilling the field where the sunflowers are going in. (Along with a variety of melons that my neighbor is growing.)

    I'll let you know how it comes out!

  7. This is a great illustration of your oil extractor. Since I just received mine, I was very interested in the pictures and how you mounted it. The pictures of the process and final products were very helpful too. Thanks so much for spending the time to post this.

    Lehmans also has this oil extractor but it costs more since the euro has gone down. Of course, payment is easier if you are from the US – US dollars.

    http://www.lehmans.com/store/Kitchen___Canning_and_Preserving___Food_Mills___Hand_Crank_Home_Oil_Press___30340100?Args=

    1. Anon – thank you for your kind comments! I always like to post tutorials for the things I do, I’m glad you got some value from it πŸ™‚

      Greg – I think most people don’t even think about pressing their own oil, and so when you show them that such a thing exists they are immediately interested sometimes! That’s at least how it happened with me.

  8. Do you know if I can use a candle instead of the glass beaker with the oil and wick in order to heat the machine? I lost my glass beaker. Also when you try pressing your own sunflower seeds, are you going to dehull them first? I have my own seeds now so I am considering that question.
    Thanks,
    -Iuval

    1. Iuval – I apologize for the delay, and if you are still checking this – I imagine you could use a candle but the problem with a candle is that it would get shorter as it burns so you would continually need to be adjusting it. You may be able to find another oil candle or even possibly make one especially if you just lost the beaker but still have the top. You could also check with the manufacturer of the Piteba press to see what he recommends.

  9. May I mention that they are now available in the states on Amazon.com?

    We bought 10 of these years ago when we lived in Hawaii on the Big Island. At the time we just hoped to sell the other nine to pay for the one we kept. Over the course of a few years we made gallons of Mac nut oil and kukui nut oil for eating and soap making. Since then we have been selling them on Ebay and just recently on Amazon. I love this little machine. We now live back in olympia WA and I hope to do Filberts and sunflower seeds next year.

    1. Derek – that’s completely fine by me! You can post a link to your site, if you want. I remember the first post you made on HT about the oil presses. We’re over by Bonney Lake now, maybe we can meet up and talk oil sometime! I keep thinking that they would be a cool thing to sell at a state fair or something especially if you were to set up a demo. Are you the one who sells them on Amazon? I saw them there, but thought it was Piteba directly. I was browsing around not too long ago and saw some internet marketer who had set up an affiliate referral “review” site for the Piteba on amazon.

      1. Oh actually I do have a question for you since you lived in Hawaii… dumb question but – can you get sprout-able nutmeg over there? I want a nutmeg tree to add to my tropicals but they are so expensive. What about Macadamias? If you don’t know it’s ok… just figured I’d ask πŸ˜‰

  10. I dont actually have a website, just Amazon. I was a huge collecter of of tropicals before we moved from Olympia to Hawaii. I had, a bodhi tree, miniture citrus, Rare bamboos, yerba mate, coffee and a few others I cant rember. I was in heaven living in hawaii when it came to gardening. All those odd plants grew like weeds over there. Now that we have moved back I only have a few coffes and a miniture citrus. As for nutmeg I dont recall anyone that grew it. You might be able to put a post on konaweb.com or punaweb.org to see what you can get. Although live seed that hasnt been debugged it a no no to ship to the US from Hawaii so you might have a hard time getting anyone to ship. Mac nuts are a much easier one to get as EVERYONE seems to have at least one growning in there yard.
    Once we get set up again I have a huge plant list. Yerba Mate, roobious, standard tea, booboab and that list will grow. Check on ebay for a farmer selling mac nuts in the shell, uncooked and fresh. I bet you could get at least one to sprout.

    Derek

  11. Derek – thanks for the info! And thanks for those websites… I will check them out. I didn’t think about the debugging part, that might be important. I just love growing tropicals… I was devastated recently when my new kittens tore apart my vanilla orchid. I was able to save a part of the top, but it isn’t rooting so I may have to get a new one πŸ™

    Irving – the Piteba press does not work for olive oil… it can only press oils out of nuts & seeds with a pretty low moisture content. You could try it, but I have a feeling you’d just end up with olive mush (plus you’d need to de-pit them first).

    Olive oil pressing is kind of a different pressing. Although I will say – I have looked and looked and wished there was a small household-sized olive press out there because I can’t seem to find one, but I think I would like one if I could get one. There is one variety of olive that is hardy to our zone at the property and I am really curious to see if we could grow olives. I suppose I should plant the tree first and see if it survives before I worry about the presses! If you do find one, I’d love to hear about it though.

  12. I just receeived a email from a ebay buyer that said they steam grape seeds and then run them through the press. I guess the steaming process softens them enough so that they can go through the piteba. I keep thinking about starting a piteba forum just so that all of its users have a single place to share the uses that they have come up with.

    1. Do you know how long they steam them for and if they run them through right after they steam them while they6 are still warm?

  13. No kidding! That would be a cool idea… grape seeds. Would be a great side project for vintners or someone who has large amounts of grape seeds left over from processing. A piteba forum would be pretty cool, they are becoming more and more popular as the commercial food quality continues to decline.

  14. I planning a big pumpkin and sunflower garden this year just for running through the piteba. I really want to get back into making out own soap and the idea of using mostly our own made oils would be amazing.

    1. Let me know how it goes! I know sunflower has a tendency to go rancid and get DOS (Dreaded orange spots) if used too much in a soap formula, but that brings up a good though… I wonder what other oils can be grown at home for soapmaking? Besides the animal oils one could produce, of course. Too bad there’s no such thing as a miniature coconut tree, huh! I’d love to be able to grow coconuts and press them for oil.

  15. I love the idea of simplicity and portability, but the screws they provide for mounting would go through a 1 inch piece of wood and the bolts would of course stick out the bottom.

    What did you use to mount the press to the wood board? Is it sturdy?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Cary,

      Great catch! I’ll edit the post right away. I have NO IDEA why I said 1×4 because it’s actually a 2×6! I think maybe I said 1×4 because I was also building some raised beds from some scrap 1×4 cedar I’d gotten. I did use the bolts that were included with the piteba, and the 2×6 holds it very sturdy and secure. I just wish more countertops these days were made to accomodate things being clamped on them like that – in my new house I haven’t found a good place to mount it yet. I think I am going to have to buy a small table or something to use as a worktable so I can clamp it on there.

  16. Cary Weiner
    Mount the Piteba to a 3/4 inch 2 ft x 2ft piece of plywood. Then run a 1in x 1in Or 2in x 2in strip of wood all the way around the bottom of the plywood. That will lift the plywood up so that the bols dont touch the countertop. Then just use a Irwin Quick Clamp, get the big strong one, to mount it to a table or counter.
    Derek

    1. Hi Larry,

      I just bought a bottle of colored lamp oil at my local grocery store. The instructions do specifically say to burn only colored oil, though I think a lot of that is to avoid inadvertent mixing or consumption of the lamp oil, which is generally just liquid paraffin. Most of the major grocery stores should have it, and if not you can check the sportsman/outdoor stores.

  17. Bathany; Thank you for the reply to my question. Now when we we the lamp burning burning while pressing the oil, what will the temperature of the oil be? Will it still qualify for cold-pressed oil?

    Thanks.
    Larry

    1. Hi Larry,

      It does heat up the oil a little but I would still consider it cold-pressed. I have not measured the temperature of the oil coming out but it isn’t very warm – a little warm to the touch but by the time it all starts accumulating in the glass down below it’s pretty much just a little warmer than room temperature. I think the industry standard for oils that are considered “cold-pressed” is under 120 degrees and this definitely is under 120. But the US doesn’t really regulate “cold pressed” so it isn’t like there’s a specific set of standards we can look at, unfortunately.

  18. Absolutly love your site. Have you guys made cheese yet? I havent noticed anything on the site. We just made our fisrt 2 lb wheel of Manchego today. That would be my fav cheese. It has to age for many months but it looks VERY good so far. Seems like something you might already be doing.

    1. Hi Derek,

      Thanks! I made some cheese a few years back but I just haven’t had good luck finding good milk out here. Someday I do plan on getting my own cow though! I wish I liked goats milk because I bet I could have one here if I really wanted one… but the milk we have here just doesn’t work for cheese very well. I couldn’t even make a decent mozzarella or ricotta, much less a hard cheese πŸ™

    1. Hi Paige,

      Yes it should work! Black cumin seeds have a low moisture content which is really what you want to look for. The only thing is that I have no idea if it will be worthwhile as far as oil content. Black cumin from what I can see is about 22% oil, which is a little lower than what I’ve pressed before. In comparison, my sunflower seeds were about 40% oil and the pumpkin seeds were 45%. But I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t work for them.

  19. Thanks for the great info. I just bought one of these – wish I had seen this site first and saved some $$.

    I’ve seen some info on pressing olive oil and it looks like the home version would be that you pretty much mash the olives, squash them (you can rig up a car jack to do this) and then skim the oil from the resulting liquid. If we ever get some olives I’m planning to try…

    Have you ever gotten fresh goat milk from a reliable source? Because if goat milk is handled correctly and the does are separate from the bucks, I’d defy you to tell the difference between goat milk and cow milk. I make cheese with my goat milk all the time…it makes a decent mozzarella and cheddar in addition to the traditional goat cheeses. And goats are easy keepers. πŸ™‚

    I can’t wait to try using the oil press and your info and photos will really help us out. Thanks again.

    1. Hey Annie – No I have only been able to buy the raw goats milk at the store. I don’t know anyone who has them, and I have heard what you are telling me about no flavor difference so much that I will absolutely try out goats milk as soon as I can find someone who does deal with their goats the same way you do. I have often wondered if that’s what is missing – because I LOVE the taste of raw jersey milk and I do intend to get myself a cow once we are living at the property but I know how goats are so much easier to keep. I’ve in the last few months converted to a primal diet which eliminates carbs so I’m eating a lot more whole full-fat dairy and loving it… which solidified my plan to get a cow once I get to the property. But again, if someone can give me some goats milk that I can’t taste the difference, I will be sold. I’ve often said how I wished I like goats milk because it would be easier to deal with!

      Anyway I’m glad you got your oil press! Good luck with it and let me know if you ever try the car jack olive press, that sounds intriguing.

    1. Hi Kim,

      I haven’t heard of anyone who did, but I would invite anyone who has tried to comment! My impression of soybeans is that they do not have a high percentage of oil which is why the oil is generally chemically extracted, much like corn or canola oils. I think a good rule of thumb is that if you can BUY it expeller-pressed, then the piteba can probably handle it. The oils most people make with the Piteba – flax, pumpkin seed, coconut, etc. are all available commercially as expeller pressed. However, I’ve never heard of any soybean oil on the market that is expeller-pressed, though I’m certainly not an expert on the issue. I would bet that you could not press soybeans with the Piteba.

  20. Bethany,
    You have helped get the word out on the Piteba oil press and i want to give a little back.
    I am assuming that you have goats or cows for fresh milk? If so I now sell a stainless, no plastic, cheese press on Amazon and will offer you one well below my cost or a Piteba well below my cost if you would like to give one as a gift this year.
    My girlfriend has been making hard aged cheese for a few months now. She just waxed a mixed milk chedder, Goat and cows milk. We have them all ageing in a wine cooler. We are hoping on 1/4 cheese slices as christmas gifts this year. Who doesnt like cheese?
    You can email me at
    dhobkirk@comcast.net

  21. Hi Bethany, Have you or anyone else tried pressing rosehip seeds with the piteba?
    Also for those asking about olive oil presses check out http://www.oliveoilsource.com They are an expensive item so those of us who are trying to grow olives in the Gulf Islands of BC are thinking of purchasing one as a co-op. We have time to look into this as we won’t be producing enough for 6 or 7 years.

    1. Hi Jess,

      No I haven’t heard of that! I bet rosehip seeds would work. I can’t imagine growing and cleaning enough of your own to make it worthwhile, but I know there’s commercially pressed rosehip seed oil so it makes sense you should be able to get the seeds somewhere as well.

      And thanks for the heads up on the olive oil press! I get that question ALL the time, so it’s nice to have something to point people to, even if it is expensive. I really wish there was a small Piteba-size press for olives… maybe some creative engineer will invent one πŸ™‚
      Bethany would love for you to read..Using the whole chicken – a creative way to use the bones!My Profile

  22. Just received word from “Bountiful Gardens” seeds that they have this press available for $164. Don’t know what Amazon has, but if you want to support a small business, this might be an option. They are also carrying some oil seeds for pressing; just a few, I think. Interesting that I can’t find information anywhere on how many pounds of (whatever) type of seed produces how many oz. of oil…. Here’s a project for someone…. Nice posting place. Excellent information. Thanks for the in-depth accounting of the press. Might have to get one…

    1. The one on Amazon is sold actually by a local guy (Derek, he’s commented on the thread) and so while Amazon does get a benefit from the fees (like eBay would), I do agree it’s good to support the little guy. I believe he’s got it on Amazon for about $145 or so at the moment.

      You know you’ve given me a task now… now I’m gonna have to go out and get all sorts of different seeds and figure out how much oil I get per pound… lol. Someday maybe when I don’t have a newborn! πŸ™‚
      Bethany would love for you to read..Flexible Homemade Ice PacksMy Profile

  23. Well I didn’t know how Amazon works. Glad others get a “cut.” I was going to send your information to a few people I know who would be interested, so I’ll be sure they know if they order from Amazon you-all get something! I am so intrigued with this little press … I LOVE small-scale (affordable!) options to be more self-sufficient. We are small organic growers in Ohio and have always been looking for small-scale threshers for dry-bean production. Way too expensive… Gene Logsdon has a great book out on Small Grains that is helpful, too. If you love Gene Logsdon, check out his blog at http://www.thecontraryfarmer.com And thanks for the info on becoming an Amazon seller; might have to look into that, too!

  24. Have just opened my new Piteba. The assembly instructions leave a lot to be desired. Can someone please tell me how to assemble the wick. Does the disc with the little whole in the middle sit on top of the oil bottle and is the cord supposed to be pushed through the tiny hole in the middle of the disc?How do you get the cord through the hole in the disc? Maybe that disc doesn’t sit on the bottle after all. Can’t wait to get started.

    1. Hi Caroline,

      Sorry I just got to replying to this! Yes, the wick does go through the little hole. I threaded mine a long time ago so I don’t remember how I got it through but I don’t remember it being a problem. You could try dipping the end in some melted wax and as it cools, roll it so it has more of a pointed tip? And then yes, the disk just sits right on top of the bottle and isn’t really secured by anything.

      Hope that helps!

      Bethany

  25. Bethany, I am thinking about buying one of these but haven’t had a crop of anything good enough lately, due to the drought in Oklahoma. Where did you buy the hulled sunflower seed that you used?
    Ilene would love for you to read..We Had FunMy Profile

  26. Hey, thanks a million for the site, excellent. What lead me here is my/everyone’s need for essential oils, and I’m not speaking of exotics. We need oils and the fresher the better. You can purchase but everyone needs EFAs or essential fatty acids in their proper ratio 1:2 of Omega 3 to 6. It runs counter to the paradigm professed by the medical establishment however if you dig deep enough you’ll understand. Read the work of Brian Peskin and you’ll understand. Fish do not make oil and fish oil does cause cancer, as do other rancid oils, thus the reason for fresh cold pressed uncooked oils.
    Never cook a seed, it goes rancid immediately and the rancid oil is a toxin to your liver. Each cell in your body is coated with oil which regulates the flow of oxygen in and out of the cell, minerals too. Bad oils, french fried oils if you get what I mean, hydrogenated, do not allow for the flow of oxygen in and out of the cell and cause the cell to morph into an anaerobic cell which lives on fermentation and sugar. These anaerobic cells are cancer but the body disposes through metabolism normally. So if you eat good oils and stay away from sugar, all sugar, all carbs you will not get cancer and even get rid of it if you have it. Another book I highly recommend is Primal Body Primal Mind, excellent treatise on the subject of food for humans.
    I am very grateful for your site and trust what I’ve said will help someone, it’s certainly helped me to achieve a heathy lifestyle with no illness, not even a sniffle for many years. Oils are the key.

  27. Hello everyone!
    I would like to ask if anyone has tried grapeseeds and tell us his experience. In my area we have lots of grapes and before i buy piteda i would like to know if it works with grapeseed.
    Thanks

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